3 Easy Tips for Using Keys and Locks When Blind or Visually Impaired

Do you ever struggle with unlocking or locking doors? Is it hard to find the right key and locate the keyhole? If so, here are three simple and easy tips to help make locking and unlocking doors a little easier.

Tip #1 – Organize Your Keys

Over the years it is very easy for key rings to get cluttered and quite frankly unruly. I recently did a key ring audit of my key ring and boy was that an experience. I found keys from over 10 years ago, which I haven’t used in just as long and barely remember what they go to. I also discovered old rewards cards to stores that don’t exist anymore and cards from stores on the complete opposite side of the country. And finally, the most discouraging of all, I found several dangling lanyards from long lost cherished key chains. Spending some time to get rid of unused keys, rewards cards, and other miscellaneous items will make locating the keys you need so much easier.

doorknob with a deadbolt lock

Next, if possible get keys that are distinct from one another. If you are going to be finding keys tactically get keys that are different shapes and sizes. Nowadays there are so many varieties out there, large square keys, to circle keys with holes, the possibilities are almost endless. Another option is to mark your keys tactically. For example, adding duct tape to your main house key and a tactile Velcro strip to the mailbox key. You can be very creative with this process to find what works best for you.

If you are low vision and benefit from contrasting colors I have some good news for you. Keys come in pretty much every color or pattern you can think of from bright yellow, to black, and even leopard print. You can also get colored key caps for the top of your keys to add color contrast and a tactile element.

I could go on and on about all the different varieties of keys but the main thing is to try out the various options and see what works best for you.

So now that your keys are organized we can get into tip #2 how to get the key into the keyhole easily and efficiently.

Tip #2 – Use Both Hands

Key inserted in a door keyhole with other keys dangling from a key ring

Locating a keyhole and getting the key into that keyhole can be a challenge for someone who is blind or visually impaired. Here is a tip for making that task a little easier. First, locate the keyhole with the opposite hand of the one that is holding the key. For example, if you are holding the key in your right hand locate the lock and keyhole with the left hand and vice versa. Once you find the keyhole keep one finger on that keyhole with the non-key holding hand and bring the key to that finger. Having a fingertip on the keyhole makes it much easier to keep track of where the keyhole is when bringing the key to the keyhole. Finally, insert the key into the keyhole and turn the key in the desired direction.

If you want to see a video demonstration you can click here.

Tip # 3 – Avoid Dropping Keys

For my final tip, here is a helpful way to avoid dropping your keys while locking or unlocking a door or lock. First, add a carabiner, elastic loop, or a looped strap to your key ring. Next, when using your keys insert one of your fingers that is not holding on to the key into that loop. Now if you accidentally drop your keys you are able to catch them before they fall all the way to the floor. That’s it, a very simple and easy to do tip that can save you the hassle and frustration of trying to locate a set of dropped keys.

Black Carabiner in the palm of a hand

If you want to see a video demonstration you can click here.


I really hope these tips were helpful for you. I’m sure there are more tips out there that I did not cover in this article. I would love to hear what other tips people are using. If you have one please comment below to let me know or send me an email at blindonthemove@gmail.com. Have a wonderful day!

Published by Mike Mulligan

Is a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist who provides product resources, reviews, and tutorials.

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